Role of State in Combating Economic Crimes
White collar crime can have dire effects on the economy and its nationwide progress; we speak with Mr Rashid Al Saad on how economic crime can affect more than just the victims, as well as the developments in Qatar that have been set out to stomp down on cyber related crime. With payment methods changing due to technological advancements, Rashid speaks on how they are tackling white collar crime and terrorism funding.
There is no doubt that the tremendous development in the course of life and its demands, the massive revolution in communication technology and the economic, cultural and social openness have led to the emergence of a new type of crimes that were not known in the 20th century: white collar crimes (economic crimes).
Economic crimes, in general, are those affecting the economic policy of the country, breaching its economic system, economic objectives and policies, as well as the social interests of the community itself. From the legal perspective, some people define economic-based crime to be an act of abstention from pursuing an action that will result in harm to the economic policy or the economic security of the country, committed by a person eligible for taking the criminal responsibility; such an act is prohibited by law and for which the law has prescribed a penalty or precautionary measures.
Economic crimes differ from ordinary financial misconduct, as economic crimes are initially directed towards the economic policy of the state and cause harm to its financial interests, whereas financial crimes have an impact on the victim, such as stealing money from individuals, so neither does it achieve economic progress and growth for himself, or for the benefit of the national economy.
Economic crimes are numerous, varied and different from one society to another based on its economic system and its cultural development. Such types of economic crimes develop in line with the rapid development which the world has been going through. However, the most dangerous types of economic crimes are those which affect the safety and security of countries and threaten the economic credit, such as: forging bank checks, foreign and local currency, credit cards, money laundering, cyber-crimes and terrorism funding crimes. These types of crimes are considered the most dangerous and heinous in its negative impact and the tremendous harm they cause to the public interest, state economies and all members of the entire society.
Economic crimes have recently increased and their rates have risen worldwide as a result of the international economy’s free money transfer and the free transfer of funds, goods, commodities, workers and employers without custom, political, or administrative restrictions. At the local level, the rates of economic crimes in Qatar have recently increased due to economic, social and cultural openness that Doha has witnessed over the past few years.
Due to the high rates of economic crimes at the local level, the State has played an important role in fighting economic crimes, by taking several preventive measures and mechanisms and enacting legislations that would prevent such types of crimes.
The State has also convened many conferences and awareness seminars for the sake of fighting economic crimes. Such conferences and seminars aim to spread awareness among the individuals of the society with regard to the type of economic crimes, their development, methods of perpetration, and means of confronting and fighting such crimes.
The State have sought to fight and limit economic crimes by enacting a number of laws targeting a number of unlawful actions which have increased and have had dangerous impact on the Qatari society. The Qatari legislator enacted law No. (28/2002) in respect of fighting money laundering, which accurately defines the concept of this crime and the obligations of the financial institutions. This law has set up the deterrent penalties which may reach up to seven years of imprisonment and a fine of no less than fifty thousand Riyals, as well as enacting the anti-terrorism law No. (3/2004). The legislator also amended the provisions of law No. (28/2002) by adding the crime of funding terrorism to the list of crimes set out in the law. The legislator also enacted law No. (14/2014) in relation to fighting cyber-crimes. The penal code also prescribed in the articles from 370 to 387 a number of penalties aiming to combat computer crimes.
On the path of fighting economic crimes, the State established the National Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Committee. The State also established an independent department for criminal investigations with regard to economic crimes.
In addition to this, the State has taken the necessary precautionary and preventive measures, established mechanisms and enacted legislations for the sake of combating economic crimes. Based on the increasing rates and rapid development of these misconducts, from our own part, we believe that it is necessary to establish courts to be competent in tackling economic crimes, in order to expedite making decisions and rulings on such crimes and to devote the expertise for such types of cases. This would generally contribute to maintaining appropriate environment for economic development and encourage investment.